Topsham police make arrest in high school threat

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TOPSHAM — Police on Monday arrested a Bowdoinham man in connection with a threat of physical violence at Mt. Ararat High School.

Jonas Cloukey, 19, was arrested March 5 at his 1594 River Road home in Bowdoinham on a charge of terrorizing. He had allegedly posted a threat on Discord, a social media outlet, and had “identified the school as well as a future day and time when the threat of physical violence would take place,” a Topsham Police press release stated.

Officers identified the poster, who was using a screen name, as Cloukey, after which Detective Mark LaFountain secured an arrest warrant as well as a search warrant for Cloukey’s residence.

Police searched Cloukey’s home Monday evening with help from the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office, and Cloukey was then arrested at the Topsham Police Department. Officers seized a firearm, knives, two computers and cell phones they believe are related to the investigation.

“The Topsham Police Department is confident he is the sole suspect in this investigation and thanks to a concerned person, we were able to close this investigation successfully,” the agency stated.

The following day, Superintendent Brad Smith reported that a communication between two girls at the school had been “mistakenly taken as an indication of a potential problem. A student reported to an administrator there was a threat and to leave school.”

Administrators opted to “shelter in place,” through which student movements within the building were limited while the police tried to find the person who sent the original message.

“The student receiving the original communication has acknowledged the message was misunderstood, and things are back to normal,” Smith explained. “There was no threat. There is no need to pick up students, as the school is safe. The girl who sent the message had left the school campus and has been cooperating with law enforcement.”

The incidents followed school threats and a bomb scare Feb. 15-16, on the heels of a school shooting Feb. 14 in Florida that took the lives of 17 students and staff.

“These are very anxious times, and we understand the heightened concern and fear that our school community is experiencing,” Smith said in a statement March 5. “If your child is feeling uneasy, let them know that administrators, school counselors and social workers are available to support them. We will continue to work with local law enforcement agencies to provide a safe environment for our students and staff.”

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.